Okay so i have a chance to buy a 9" rear and a dana 44 for my yj.. The problem is that the front has locking hubs that are .02 of an inch to large for my wheel. I just dropped 800$ on the wheels so swaping wheels isnt an option. I would like to switch the outers on the 44 to an automatic locking hub. The axles came off of a 1973 bronco but have been completly rebuilt. I have a 1991 yj.
I know guys that run spacers with no problems. Just check the torque often, especially for the first several hundred miles each time you remove one. I have been told the hubs are too big to allow for a 5x4.5" bolt pattern, but that may just be for the Dana 30. It actually uses a larger diameter hub than the Ford 44s.
If its really only 0.02" difference then I would just take a flapper wheel on an end grinder and enlarge the hole on the wheel.
Then your only other option would be to grind/machine the hub AFAIK all the D44 hubs are the same (with the exception of Scout D44 which actually use D30 hubs) And remember if its only .02" like you claimed then you only need .01" material removed all the way around
Sell the wheels and buy a set of cheap steel wheels.
To my knowledge they only make adapters to go to a larger pattern.
Trying to change the pattern by grinding on the wheel is dangerous and will probably just ruin the wheel.
Even if you are able to make the center hole big enough the bolt pattern is still wrong.
93 YJ SOA 2" springs front, XJ springs rear w/main leaf added, High pinon 9 inch rear detroit locker front Dana 44 ARB 4.56 Gears, 36 inch Irok tires too much to list. www.mijc.org
This question has been asked many times on various boards in the past. A little searching will get you some results that may help explain it better.
The bolt pattern adapters won't fit over the hub either. The OD of the hub body is just too large for a 5 x 4.5" pattern. Go take a look at these axles. They have a hub body that the wheel mounts to that contains the wheel bearings. This is what is causing the interference. Changing the style of locking hub will do nothing since its on the end and is smaller in diameter than where it matters.
There are people who say that you can use dodge knuckles and unit bearing on a 44 to get a 5 x 4.5" bolt pattern but I've never seen or heard of anyone actually doing it.
If you can't afford to sell your current wheels and buy a new set then you should probably just wait to swap the axles until you can IMO.
The dodge unit bearings were going to be my next suggestion. I honestly believe that if you compare the costs, you will be better off just buying wheels. Even if you have to get used ones you don't really like for right now. Don't forget to figure in resale of your current wheels, future replacement of unit bearings and increased wear and tear on front end parts